Reflections, Yesterday

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

It was warm yesterday! While walking around the Stanford University campus, self saw that someone had stuck glittery red hearts around the planter box in front of the Bookstore. The Post Office looked exactly the same. They’re tearing down Meyer. Which means self will have to re-write the stories she’s set there. Yes, she does have stories set in Meyer Library.

The students she spoke to yesterday certainly made her think. Yes, she told them, the stories in Mayor of the Roses were written while she worked at Stanford at various administrative jobs.

Did you ever go to The Bridge (24-hour free counseling service on campus), someone asked. Of course! self replied. Didn’t everybody?

Self told the students that she had a more recent story about the Bridge, but in tone the story is as different from the one in Mayor of the Roses as night and day. In self’s story, which appeared in Waccamaw, the Bridge is a counseling hot-line called 1-800-U-R-Saved. The story is “Bridging.”

She talked about her Creative Writing Program years, and how she felt at the time she wrote the stories in the collection. She really really wanted to take a picture of Professor Miner’s copy of Mayor of the Roses because it was completely marked up. Notes on the margins, arrows pointing every which way. Looked like a piece of post-modern art.

She told the students she was writing science fiction now.

The time was really too short.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Yellow: Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week is YELLOW.

Participating bloggers are asked to post something focusing on the color yellow, whether it be lemons. Or flowers. Or sunlight.

Self’s 1st example of yellow is a tablecloth. The table was on the Venice Beach Pier:


Her 2nd example of yellow is a lit corridor in the History Corner of the Main Quad, Stanford University campus. Self took the picture one evening last fall when she was on her way to Annenberg to catch a Robert Frank documentary on the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street tour:


Finally: sunflowers. Self bought a bunch one day from her local farmers market:

DSCN7054Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How Did Self Get Here?

She took a summer course in Creative Writing from John L’Heureux. He told her he thought she should apply to the Creative Writing Program. Because she was out of ideas about what to do with her life (Her ideas only carried her as far as six months into the future), she dutifully applied. She got in. She had no idea she’d spend the next two years sitting around a table with 11 other people, talking about each other’s writing as if it married. No idea that writing, at least in America, was considered very hard work. She didn’t know why her fellow fellows spent so much time in Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue.

She didn’t know that the tall skinny lad with the piercing green eyes who was called Read the rest of this entry »

Twinkle: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Dec. 12, 2014)

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is TWINKLE (“We love the light.”)

Self took the first two photos at the home of Mary Ann Robbiano in Menlo Park. When self was a very new graduate student at Stanford, she rented a room from Mrs. Robbiano (The rent was $100/month. Yup, you read that right) and biked to Stanford every day, about a 20-minute bike ride each way. Her legs got strrrong!

This evening, Mrs. Robbiano invited self to have dinner with her and a few of her gang at the Palo Alto Elks Club. Though self had been to the Elks Club in Manila (a long time ago), she’d never been to an Elks Club in the States. Which is strange come to think of it, because this is where the Elks Club originated after all.

On the menu: Salmon Creek Chardonnay and hamburger with garlic fries. Dinner was followed by bingo. It was a very retro evening. Self loves Mrs. Robbiano.

Mary Ann Robbiano's Christmas Tree

Mary Ann Robbiano’s Christmas Tree

More of the same Christmas Tree

More of the same Christmas Tree

This last photo is of self’s own Christmas tree. She bought the bird ornament at Filoli, during last year’s Holiday Bazaar. Not sure if this photo fits in with the photo challenge, but there’s definitely light shining through the bird, and the gold is from a long piece of tinsel that self wound around and around her tree.

It doesn’t take much, really, to put self in the Christmas spirit. A tree on which to hang her treasured ornaments, though, is a definite must.

Bird Ornament on Self's Own Christmas Tree  (bought at Filoli last year)

Bird Ornament on Self’s Own Christmas Tree (bought at Filoli last year)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


Angular 3: WordPress Photo Challenge

In the meadow between Littlefuild and the Main Quad

In the meadow between Littlefield Building and the Main Quad, Stanford campus

San Gabriel Church, Southern California

The Blessed Virgin, In a Small Chapel Next to San Gabriel Church, Southern California

Lobby of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

“Smoke” by American Artist Tony Smith, in the Lobby of the Ahmanson Building at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Further takes on ANGULAR, this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Angular 2: Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ANGULAR.

Since self really enjoys taking pictures of buildings and such, she has many that she thinks fit the theme. Such as these that she took during a visit to the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford campus, a month or so ago.

Behind the Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus

Behind the Cantor Art Center, Stanford Campus



The current exhibit (through Jan. 15, 2015) of Robert Frank’s photographs, Robert Frank in America, is — WOW. Just. Wow.

Frank’s journey across America took place in 1955-56.

The exhibit includes a map of the United States that shows the locations where each set of photographs was taken. These include: Ann Arbor, Daytona Beach, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit, Denver, Flagstaff, Hoover Dam, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and Salt Lake City.

The book in the first two photographs is the exhibit catalogue (the book that can be seen in the first two photographs). It is well worth the purchase price, because the photographs capture a moment in America and their power builds cumulatively.

Robert Frank himself flew in to see the exhibit. The famed photographer turned 90 this month.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Foolish Things

  • As a result of dropping by the Robert Frank exhibit at the Cantor Art Center on the Stanford Campus yesterday, self got it into her head that she would very much like to own a Leica.
  • After leaving the Robert Frank exhibit, self fully intended to go to Aquarius in Palo Alto and watch Rory Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam.” But she did not.  Instead, after filling up with gas, she went home.  And today — alas! — that film is no longer showing.
  • Self hasn’t looked at her story “The Peacock.”  Not once.  Not since it was workshopped at Squaw. She has no idea what to do with that story. It just sits there, like a lump on a log. Taking up space in her computer. In her store of unfulfilled projects. She wanted it to be a memoir about her and Dear Departed Sister-in-Law Ying. She wanted it to be desperate and lonely, the voice of a soul lost in the Cambodian wilderness after failing to connect with the splendor that is Angkor Wat (Dear blog readers, do you know that there’s a RAFFLES HOTEL IN SIEM REAP???)
  • Self has wanted to replace the desert of the front lawn with trees — perhaps olive trees — to screen her house from the busy street. But she’s remained staring at that patch of bare, weed-choked dirt for 10 years. It sounds really lame to keep bringing up the drought.

Ugh, ugh, girl. Why can’t you just do? Why must you always be re-hashing the old, or rehearsing for the future? To what end?

How quickly you forget: just yesterday, you got word from Witness that a piece you sent them eight months ago is going to be in their Translation issue.

As for somehow missing “Last Days in Vietnam,” “Gone, Girl” is showing in the Redwood City Century 20 and she heard from a friend who read the book that it’s actually pretty good. Self is not a Ben Affleck fan — seems he is pretty much a control freak with his wife, and no doubt he took care to present himself in the best possible light in this new role — but what the heck? Maybe she just wasn’t in the mood for another hard-hitting documentary yesterday, maybe she should just try and ignite a new respect for Ben Affleck? She did like “Argo” a lot. He’s not a bad director.

And if she’d managed to watch “Last Days in Vietnam” yesterday, she would have missed seeing the San Francisco Giants’ nail-biting victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. She would have missed seeing the way the two teams went head to head all the way to the 9th inning. She would have missed that sweet, game-ending homer.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Silence is your treasure”

Self is reminded of this again when she reads Diane Gilliam’s essay on “Working in Silence,” on A Room of Her Own Foundation’s website.

The full quote is:  Silence is your treasure.  Do not exchange it for an easy life.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn't know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Walking to Annenberg from Littlefield, you pass this meadow. Self doesn’t know the name of the artist who made this sculpture, but right in front of the Cummings Art Building is a Henry Moore.

Last night, self found herself back in Stanford.  Self enjoyed the walk through the still campus.  She remembers thinking:  How quiet it is here.  How peaceful.  And that’s what Stanford gave her:  four years of peace.  Two years in the East Asian Studies Program, with a concentration in Chinese, two years as a Creative Writing Program Fellow.  What an unimaginable luxury.

Self originally meant this post to be about the Rolling Stones.  Specifically, the Rolling Stones as they were in 1972, when Robert Frank made the documentary “Cxxxxsucker Blues” (Self blushes to admit that the x’s are her own.  The early 1970s were still the 1960s. What self means by that is that drug use was still rampant, and so was free love. And Mick wore velvet jumpsuits spangled with sequins and looked vaguely reminiscent of Elvis, only much thinner).  They showed it in Annenberg, last night. Amazingly, the theater was packed, even though at that very moment, the San Francisco Giants were facing off against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Frankly, it was just painful to see the way women were treated in this movie (like pieces of meat — yes, exactly. Thank you Jennifer Lawrence or whoever): they were either in bed or shooting up or sewing. Yes, sewing.

With one exception:  Bianca Jagger. Who was in no way a groupie. Who Mick treated with affection.

Thank God for Bianca Jagger.

The album “Exile on Main Street” was self’s first ever Rolling Stones album. And the Robert Frank documentary was about the 1972 tour for that album. If for nothing else, self had to see the documentary.

And Mick had this amazing, amazing diffidence (Keith Richards had it too, to a lesser degree). At one point, he stares straight at the camera (presumably being held by Robert Frank) and says, casually contemptuous, “Fuck you.” And it’s not as if Frank caught him in an intimate moment, either.  He’s just standing there, and he decides to turn his head, look at Frank, and without his face changing expression, says “Fuck you.”

Now, that’s a moment.

And now, before self gets too carried away with this post, she needs to get moving. She realizes she hasn’t even connected the dots between the quote “Silence is your treasure” to the Stones documentary.

But, ta-ta, dear ones! To be continued.

Signs: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

A T-shirt self bought in Bacolod. Translation: "I am from Negros Occidental." (Dear Departed Dad's Home Province)

A T-shirt self bought in Bacolod. Translation: “I am from Negros Occidental.” (Dear Departed Dad’s Home Province)

Sighted at the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, Thursdays year-round

Sighted at the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, Thursdays year-round

Aquarius Theater, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto

Aquarius Theatre, Emerson Street, downtown Palo Alto: A fixture of self’s Stanford grad student days. She saw her first Kurosawa movie here: She thinks it was “Kagemusha.”


Listmania: Six Recently Bookmarked/ 12 Existing Tags

*     *     *     *

Naomi Watts *  Oliver Stone * Owen Wilson * Patrick Leigh Fermor * Paul Theroux * Peter Sarsgaard * Pico Iyer * Rebecca West * Ruth Rendell * Sarah Waters * Siquijor * Tom Hiddleston

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